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Bury St Edmunds parkrun expected to draw in hundreds for its 200th race

PUBLISHED: 16:56 21 April 2017

The parkrun in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SIMON PARKER

The parkrun in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SIMON PARKER

It has sprinted by in the blink of an eye, but today marks the 200th parkrun event to be held at Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds.

Runners on the first anniversary of the Bury St Edmunds parkrun in 2014. Picture: GREGG BROWNRunners on the first anniversary of the Bury St Edmunds parkrun in 2014. Picture: GREGG BROWN

After the first race was run in June 2013, the event has gone from strength to strength.

“Last week we had our peak attendance of 338 runners,” said the event director Steve Pretty, who is also a parkrun ambassador.

“Over the four years the average number of runners has been 171 but over the last year there’s been 250-300, which is huge.

“I think more people are getting interested in running, partly through the parkrun phenomenon,” he said.

“It’s such a social event. You meet the same people every Saturday and have a chat and we encourage people to socialise with a coffee afterwards.”

Steve also hopes that events could soon be starting up in Haverhill and Clare Castle Country Park as currently people travel a long way to keep part – and a key aim of parkrun is helping the planet.

“We want parkrun to be a local event because it’s about building strong communities,” he said. “There’s far more to parkrun than just running. The aim is to have a healthier and happier plant and it’s about building strong communities.”

The total distance run so far by all the runners at Nowton Park every Saturday has been totted up. So far, the total stands at 171,000km.

“Another thing about parkrun is that it’s great for tourism in the area,” Steve said, “People do tour around and visit different parkruns.”

The run is 5km and takes place at 9am every Saturday – the same time as countless others across the country.

A junior parkrun of 2km has now been launched in Nowton Park, which has proved to be hugely successful in its first six months.

Other parkruns in the region take place at Great Cornard, Colchester, Clacton, Mersea Island, Kesgrave, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Thetford and Brandon.

People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to take part. All the events are free and to take part runners only need to register for the first event.

Steve added a number of people took part in the Bury event who used the event to help recover from illness or injuries.

“There’s always somebody to run with,” he said.

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